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15th Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday Gospel Matt. 22, 35-46

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"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matt. 22, 36).  With this question a lawyer appealed to Jesus, as St. Matthew said "to test Him”. Interesting question… which commandment is the greatest?

We know that the Israelite people had many different commandments. Apart from the Decalogue, which they received through Moses at Mount Sinai, they had many various requirements of the law; in regards to what they can or can't do, what to do in specific situations, etc. And this lawyer, who knew the law, who was an interpreter of the law, asked Jesus: "what commandment is the greatest of all of these?” Jesus answered briefly. He said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22, 37-38). To love God – this is the basis of all commandments. Why? Why is seemingly such a simple thing as to love God the basis of all our lives?

When we read the Bible we can see that everything started from love. As St. John said: "God is love” (1 John 4, 16). He created this world from love. He created everything around us from love. He created us, in His image and likenesses, from great love. And what happened next? The man turned away from God rejecting this love. The man listened to the devil wanting to be like God (cf. Gen. 3, 5); they (that is, people) want to decide what to do, as they want. And by rejecting God’s love, people lose the life that God granted them. But we can see that regardless of that, God still loves us and does everything to bring us back to the eternal life. We can read how He made the Covenant with Abraham, with the Israelite people; He sent His prophets to warn people; He gave the Ten Commandments, so people can use them as road-signs to come to God and live with Him; He sent His only-begotten Son, who from the great love to us gave His life that we could have eternal life.

I think, that by observing all of these, it naturally follows that the greatest commandment is to love God. Because, when we love someone, we will never do any evil thing against this person, but will do good deeds. When I say that I love God, it means that I pray to Him constantly, because this to me is conversation with Him. When I say that I love God, it means that I go to the Holy Mystery of Confession every time when I offended God to apologise, because if I love Him I want to be with Him and by my sins I turn away from Him. When I say that I love God, it means that I try to come to Divine Liturgy often to be united with Him at the Holy Eucharist, to be a participant of God’s life, and do not look for excuses why I can’t do it. If I love God I’ll try to show it by how I live my life.

Just thinking about this simple thing… the basis of the law is love. And when we look upon our lives we can give an answer, for ourselves, how this commandment is fulfilled in our lives; is it important for us? What place does God take in my life and how much do I show it by my life?

But Christ didn’t stop at that. He said: "And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22, 39). Again very simple… again love… If we would like to live in love with God, we should love our neighbour. St. John says: "If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4, 20). Because every person is created in the image and likeness of God (it’s another story what we do with it), and if we do not love our neighbours, we cannot say that we love God.

Christ says that we should love others as ourselves. I think, that every of us love ourselves. I think that no one wishes anything bad for ourselves. But look, what do we want for other people? What is our desire for other people? What do we want for them?

Listening to today's Gospel about two commandment of love, which are the basis of our life, I would like to wish for all of us that these commandments really become the basis of our lives. Very often when we observe this world, we hear different news, we see what happens… there someone was killed, there is a war, there was something stolen, etc. … and we say that this world is bad, because of news like these. But that is not true… people just forgot and don’t want to learn how to love. That’s why I wish for all of us that we never forget about love; that we love God and our neighbours and make this world better; that we live in this love with God and our neighbours every single moment of our lives, which God grants us in this world and for ever in heaven. Amen.

Fr. Andriy Mykytyuk

 

Category: Sermons | Added by: abat (2013-10-08)
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